27 April 2011
Are you one of the 17,686 non-premium Yankees season ticket account holders? If so, you should know that approximately 1,588 of your fellow season ticket holders recently received an excel spreadsheet containing personal information such as your name, address phone number, email address, plan type, seat location, number of seats, account representative and account number. In an email previewing the Yankees current home stand, a ticket representative inadvertently attached the spreadsheet and sent it to the 1,588 accounts that he manages. The account representative quickly "recalled" the email (we can only imagine the scene being something like this year's Bridgestone Super Bowl Commercial), but since that functionality only works within Microsoft Office, the damage had already been done.
At first glance, this might not seem like a huge story - credit card information wasn't included and "only" 1,588 people received the email. However, Epsilon's recent security breach received national media attention and people are always concerned about their personal information getting into the wrong hands. Beyond the typical concerns of personal security and privacy, the 17,686 account holders on that list now face the possibility of solicitation requests, fraudulent phone calls and other nastiness that can result when a list of potential customers is leaked.
We have yet to receive a copy of the email or spreadsheet, but multiple sources have confirmed the above information. Aside from the personal account holder information that was shared, some interesting data about Yankees season ticket sales can be mined from the spreadsheet. The list doesn't contain information about any of the Yankees' "premium" seat offerings such as The Legends Suite, Delta Suite, Jim Beam Suite, etc, but it does list every single account from full season to the smallest partial plan in all other areas of the stadium.
Some interesting nuggets of information from "the list" courtesy of a season ticketholder who was affected by this breach (all data as of 4/25/11):
It looks like Lonn Trost may have been exaggerating a bit when he said that the Yankees have between 36,000 and 37,000 season ticket holders in a recent interview with Ian Begley of ESPN New York, but considering these numbers don't even include premium seating, the Yankees are doing pretty well on the ticket revenue front. Without context a lot of the above numbers don't carry much meaning, but one would assume that most teams in baseball would love to have the "attendance problems" that the Yankees currently have. The challenge is retaining those season ticket holders, especially when the secondary ticket market is so ripe for the picking, and when security snafus like this occur.
We're currently waiting for word back from the Yankees with a comment on this story and will update this story with their response. In the meantime, feel free to surf on over to the NYYFans.com message board where people who are affected are discussing the situation.
UPDATE: In a press release sent out on Monday night, the team acknowledged this data breach stating, "The Yankees deeply regret this incident and any inconvenience that it might cause." The release went on to mention that no financial data was included in the breach. Later in the evening, all season ticket holders received the following letter:
Dear Yankees Season Ticket Licensee,
We are writing to inform you about an accidental electronic distribution of information that you have previously supplied to the New York Yankees.
Monday evening, April 25, 2011 an employee of the Yankees sent an e-mail to several hundred Yankees Season Ticket Licensees. The e-mail mistakenly attached an internal Yankees spreadsheet that listed the following information associated with your New York Yankees account:
· Your name, and the address, phone number(s), fax number, and e-mail address that you previously provided to the Yankees
· Your seat numbers, Yankees account number, Yankees account representative name, and the ticket package code associated with your account
NO OTHER INFORMATION WAS INCLUDED IN THE DOCUMENT THAT WAS ACCIDENTALLY ATTACHED TO THE APRIL 25TH E-MAIL. THE DOCUMENT DID NOT INCLUDE ANY BIRTH DATES, SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS, CREDIT CARD DATA, BANKING DATA, OR ANY OTHER PERSONAL OR FINANCIAL INFORMATION.
Please note, immediately upon learning of the accidental attachment of the internal spreadsheet, remedial measures were undertaken so as to assure that a similar incident could not happen again.
The Yankees deeply regret this incident, and any inconvenience that it might cause.
In addition, both Deadspin and the AP reported on this story after we initially "broke" the news (it should be noted that this had been on the NYY Fans message board for two days before it ever made it elsewhere).
Now we await the continued fallout from this mess. How much do you think a broker would lay out to get their hands on this little treasure of a list?